Staving-off-Despair Roundup

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When there’s an injustice as great a man walking free after killing an unarmed teenager, at least we have writing to turn to.

Our essays editor Roxane Gay has done some of that writing for Salon in a piece about the George Zimmerman trial titled “Racism is every American’s problem.”An essay or an Op-Ed won’t solve anything,” she says. “I know that and you know that. Nonetheless, my most powerful tool is words, and so I use my voice as best I can.”

Cord Jefferson’s essay at Gawker, which describes his own experience with suspicious white adults as a young black man, is also striking chords across the Internet.

City Lights, among others, has posted Langston Hughes’s poem “Kids Who Die.” Click through to read the whole thing, but here’s a bit of  the heart of it:

Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.

And of course, the news about George Zimmerman comes right on the heels of the news that the abortion bill in Texas—the one that Wendy Davis and colleagues defeated with the help of cheering protesters—has now passed, despite the best efforts of protesters, whose tampons and pads were confiscated indiscriminately by security guards in the capitol building. One of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, it threatens to close 37 of the 42 clinics in Texas that perform the procedure.

Feel free to share links to other pieces on this week’s political events that have helped you stave off despair.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →